AйDa Piroshki, believe it or not they're as good OR BETTER than House of Piroshki!
Before I get into details, the following statement tells you what you need to know. I traveled 100 miles round trip to try these piroshki based on Yelp reviews and it was worth it! I plan on doing so again and again.
This shop is in a funky little shared space with 5 other businesses. Once you realize how wonderful these piroshki are, you'll probably want to order them by the dozen. If so, call ahead a day or so.
Anna Tvelova is the owner and creator of these masterpieces. If you stop by at the right time, you can see her put the piroshki together and prepare them for baking, which she does right on the spot. Anna is charming and lots of fun to talk with about her love of cooking Russian food
In the 1970s and early 1980s, there was a shop in the Inner Richmond called House of Piroshki. They made piroshki that caused addiction. Since they closed in the 80s, I have searched in vain for any piroshki that would be even close to those delights. Search here and you'll find a thread or two with many like-minded heretofore hapless devils. I found a few piroshki over that span of time that were ok but not anywhere near special, hard to understand in an area with such a large Russian population extending into the East Bay and South Bay.
Yesterday, my search joyfully ended. AйDa Piroshki are easily the equal to House of Piroshki for the best piroshki I've ever had. They're probably better in many ways. They're baked and each bite causes moans of ecstasy. They're pretty to look at, which hints at what awaits withing. The dough is flavorful and has a very nice texture, spongy on the inside and crisp on the outside. The fillings are outstanding, with the only drawback being that it's hard to decide which are your favorites. My favorite is whichever one I'm eating at the time.
If you want vegetarian, Potato and Cheese or Mushroom and Spinach are very hearty and bursting with flavor. The Chicken and Beef varieties are equally satisfying. They're all outstanding.
However, the one you absolutely must try is Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. I've occasionally (actually, rarely) had them as turnovers. These are almost unbelievably good. They should be eaten warm for best effect. If you're a smoked salmon and cream cheese on a bagel lover, try these and you may decide you like these better.
If you've read this far, here's your assignment. Go to AйDa Piroshki and get blissfully addicted on the spot (one of the merchants that shares her space makes Egg Creams so you can get that as an accompanying beverage). It won't take more than one taste to get you set up to Jones for these piroshki.
After you realize that you're hopelessly hooked, there is only one thing to do. Post a review on Yelp and tell everyone you know, emphasizing that it is worth the trip if distance is an issue (I drove from Mountain View, as an example).
It is important that Anna's business thrives and even expands. AйDa Piroshki is a very rare example of filling a long-vacant void in the culinary world of the Bay Area. May she make these superb treats for many years and become the standard by which all others are judged.
331 Cortland Ave, SF, CA 94110
Smoked Salmon and cream cheese piroshki is other worldly. My eyes closed and my head tilted back. It was THAT good. And the bread surrounding it is fantastic! I've only had piroshkis in the past where the whole thing was fried or was extremely oily and the fillings were bland.
I've also tried Beef and Cheese, potato and cheese, mushroom and rice, vegan mushroom and spinach, and apples and cranberries. Everything was killer. Seriously killer.
I'm really looking forward to trying these, but they still sound like a different animal altogether from House of Piroshki. The difference between baked and fried piroshkis have always been drastic in my experience.
I was in the city this morning so went there. The very gracious owner, Anna, was minding the space, cooking, and serving. She had run out of the beef piroshki on Saturday and this morning's batch wouldn't be ready for two hours, so I didn't get to try that one. I did have the smoked salmon and cream cheese (she said it was "Seattle inspired") and it was great. I also had the Cheesy Potato & Grilled Onions one. It was quite good, probably not enough cheese for me (couldn't really tell it had cheese in it), but very well spiced. I also had a slice of the Apple, Cranberry & Almond piroshki and it was also very good, with very fresh flavors, and not too sweet. Is this place as good as the old and lamented House of Piroshki (I lived near Irving & 9th Ave in the last 70's)? Who knows. I didn't have the beef version which would have been the best comparison. The ones i did have were very different than what was offered at the HoP so there's really no comparison to be done. But this is a special place and you owe it to yourself to go and see what you think.
Thanks for the update. And here's the link (the other one is corrupted).
331 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110